DRC: THE FAILURE OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

The Belgian Congo was a forced union of humans to live under a same public administration on a vast territory but extremely segmented – with unprecedented manner – into different ‘‘Bantustans” designed as chiefdoms. The Belgian colonial administration gave to itself all economic and social powers of governance – in the form of the fascist Mussolini said :”Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” Today, it is no longer possible to replicate this state model on people seeking for democracy.

In 1960, Public Administration in Congo was – suddenly – held by administrative assistants, medical assistants, agronomist assistants, typist secretaries, monitors and lower court’s officers who were -during colonial period – junior staff and at the service of Belgian colonialism. At the independence, they became directors, heads of divisions, heads of offices … by simple replacement of colonialists. And they are clinging tenaciously for over 55 years.

Today, they are very old, malformed and non-recycled, non-recyclable as public servants. During colonial time, they were trained so that they should remain execution officers and simple colonial agents. These Congolese officers of colonialism have struggled to retrain, … without theoretical prerequisites for any training. It is no longer public administration that employs them, it is the employees who use the public administration for their own benefice. So, they can stay public servants for a long period …and stay long without salaries.

The Ministry of Justice and Human Rights offers – for illustrative purposes – a striking example:

Effective
  • 2,436 agents in Kinshasa (53.4%);
  • 2,300 agents, eligible for retirement (50.3%).
  • Kinshasa, 10 times more workers than the average in other provinces.
Age Structure
  • 44% of employees, age equal to or less than 50 years;
  •  55% of employees above 50 years age ;
  • 32.5% of the remaining workforce eligible to retire in 5 years
Specifications
  • Lack of basic data (number of agents, location, skills / education, gender / age, year of recruitment, salary level, …)
  • Disability classification and description (positions, skills and qualifications)
  • Lack of strategy for human resource management (no procedures manual, no training plan, etc.).
Aftermath
  • Lack of  system of work planning
  • Lack of an evaluation system

 Sources: Support to Governance in the DRC, EU-Brussels.

In July 2011, the Ministry of Public Service has published some  results of a biometric census conducted between 2005 and 2010 in seven provinces (Kinshasa, Bandundu, Bas-Congo, the two Kasai, Maniema and South Kivu), counting 220,993 regular officials, 24,417 irregular employees and 115,208 employees often recruited on fanciful bases, …recently !

The New staff seemed to be mostly irregular, both in terms of technical quality and their presence in the workplace. On the list of officials in the provinces, there were people whose were not residents in these provinces, agents whose names on the cards were different from reality or whose academic diplomas could not allow them to be public servants, dead or arrested people, recruited through fake procedures of appointment.

Mediocrity drew mediocrity in an expanded cycle of reproduction.

Congolese official often lingers think not having to decide without the advice of political power. There is a neglect which barely conceals an abandonment of responsabilités. Therefore, an official can not embody or internalize a governmental orientation in a modern society in which ideas are ruling world policy. He can not act to transform society as an individual who triumphs by positive influence.

Also, each agent of the Public Administration thinks first to its ease and grants a very little thing to a State which employs him. So small as to be its obligations, he always loking way to reduce his duties, while searching to be paid more. It works wrong, without consciousness, at his time or his convenience, while sparing himself all troubles or boredom and happy if he could give  illusion of a done work to a superior who doesn’t want himself to work ! Mutual indulgence maintains general negligence.

Under these conditions, it is difficult to make an exercice of compliance. Compliance refers to the fact that officials should adhere to guidelines of the State policy. In DRC, this exercice of compliance is largely missing at many points of view :

  • Impossible to give an impetus to sectoral regulators for coordinating global action of the State;
  • Difficult to promote and to apply same ethical principles in all entities of national life and to pursue integrity, …particularly in the context of transactions relating to government contracts;
  • Difficult to establish a relationship of trust between leaders of the executive organs of the State or to define a policy to prevent fraud and eradicate abuse by active systems of information and procedures ;
  • Needless to propose necessary reforms, achieve any political commitments within this framework of the former colonial public administration, get any coherence between public decisions or to promote a climate of transparency and effective collaboration.

Thus, in the DRC, the State is not able to fulfill its essential functions (eg access to health, education, justice and administration),  promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and manage – responsibly and impartially – wealth  and ensure its equitable distribution.

In DRC, Public Administration is in an advanced stage of latency. Political leadership often uses social relationships outside of National Government to conduct actions according to their  immediate objectives. Congolese State is mostly a matter of patronage ramifications or mafia.

In DRC, Public Administration is not an important tool of collective life because of lack of its compliance to other levels of governance.

Jean Munyampenda, Economist

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